Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Regulating Reincarnation

For centuries China has been ruled by bureaucracy in one form or another. The rules and regulations put in place by the Imperial government were byzantine and exacting, and the current communist government is no different in this regard. China has one of the few governments in the world that actively censors Internet content, and in fact this article could result in Augoeides being blocked in all of China.

The communist government of China is officially atheist and is particularly harsh to religions of all sorts, from modern movements like Falun Gong to ancient systems of spiritual practice such as Tibetan Buddhism. The latest move by the Chinese against Tibetan lamas rises to the level of the ridiculous - the Chinese have recently passed laws that, in theory, regulate reincarnation.

China tells Tibet's living Buddhas to apply for reincarnation

Aside from the offensiveness of the very idea, the technician in me wonders how this could possibly work. I suppose you could construct a nationwide magical field that would be the reverse of the "butterfly net" that Aleister Crowley wrote about in Moonchild - it would only allow the incarnation of souls within its boundaries that matched certain criteria defined at a master control point. There a number of ways to set this up, but they all are pretty advanced magical operations and I'm guessing the Chinese have not in fact built such a thing.

That means that aside from political posturing guaranteed to offend Tibetan Buddhists everywhere the law is essentially pointless. Without some magical means of blocking reincarnation it seems to me that this is one of those regulations that will prove impossible to enforce. In fact, given the current political situation it surprises me that any Tibetan lama would choose to be reborn in Tibet. There are certainly less risky options in the world, considering that at least one reborn lama was simply spirited away by the Chinese never to be seen again.

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